With the Manila Major only a few weeks away, it’s time to take a look at the standout players coming into the fantastic Epicenter tournament in Moscow has given us a good idea of who’s in top form. Dota has never had so many tier-one teams, and there are countless players in every region who deserve recognition for their outstanding play in recent times, but we’ve picked out a few players who we expect will excel in Manila because their sides have been performing so well over the past few months. Let us know if there’s anyone else you think should have made the list.
Honestly, picking out a player from the dominant Team Liquid side is an impossible task. They roll over enemy teams like a well-oiled machine and consistently feature some of the most solid drafts you can play against. Team Liquid will never give you an easy game and they don’t need to rely on cheesy strategies to find a fast win. Every player on this side has been performing but perhaps the most enjoyable to watch is Jerax. Despite all the nerfs to Earth Spirit the hero still looks broken in his hands, but he’s just as strong with Phoenix, Tusk and a bunch of others. Jerax is one of the few support players who regularly runs away with a game, even at the highest level.
What is there to say about Miracle that hasn’t been said already? Dota’s 9K MMR star is the focal point for one of the strongest sides in Dota right now and he never fails to deliver. With such a talented team around him, ensuring he gets the space he needs, Miracle is one of the most flashy carry players there is, putting in dominating performances on Alchemist, Anti-Mage, Tinker, and of course Invoker at Epicenter. He’s not just about fast reflexes and mechanical skills though, Miracle’s item builds and decision making are perhaps unparalleled right now.
Newbie have risen from the ashes of their post-TI 5 collapse and, rather fittingly, a large part of their recent success is thanks to Kaka’s stella phoenix performances since he signed for them from Ehome. They’re looking like the strongest Chinese side coming into the tournament and, after only narrowly losing to Liquid in the Epicenter Grand Finals, no one is going to be confident going up against this team. With Chaun at the helm they’re looking far more organised than we’ve seen before, but Kaka has possibly been their most consistent player. This guy simply doesn’t make mistakes, whether he’s on Phoenix, Rubick, Earth Spirit or any other hero, and anyone looking to improve their support play should watch his games.
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We’ve seen some really great Dota coming from the SEA region in recent times and Midone is their exciting new talent. He has set his sights on becoming the strongest mid-laner in the game and so far he’s done nothing but impress. He’s a true, play-making mid player, favoring flashy heroes like Queen of Pain, Puck and Templar Assassin, and there are countless clips on YouTube showcasing his talent. If Fnatic hit the sort of form they were finding around the Shanghai Major we’re sure to see plenty more dazzling plays from Midone at Manila.
Another side that has really stood out this year, MVP Phoenix have been battering other teams out their way with ridiculously quick wins and we can’t wait to see what strategies they’ve got prepared for Manila. MVP are one of the teams that are happy to ignore popular picks in the meta in favor of more innovative tactics and you’ll regularly see QO playing heroes like Templar Assassin, mid-lane Phantom lancer or Juggernaut, as well as Invoker or Death Prophet. He seems to love MVP’s aggressive play-style, and just when you think he’s overextended he’ll back his skill and turn things around. If MVP impress again at Manila you can guarantee that QO will be taking teams apart.
Complexity are perhaps the “dark horse” of Manila. Having defeated EG in Moscow they are poised to establish themselves as the top side in North America if they can build on that success. Their stand-out player at Epicenter was Zfreek who pulled off plenty of jaw-dropping pieces of play on Rubick, Phoenix and others. Here you can see the defining moment of their series with EG, when Zfreek caught out Eternal Envy with an outrageous Mirana arrow. They’ll need Zfreek to carry on performing at Manila if they want to make the top three.